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Kempner Water Supply under fire amid high water base rates, dirty water

Posted at 6:16 PM, Jul 10, 2024

KEMPNER, Texas (KXXV) — “It’s not like we are out spending people's money, like they claim we are doing,” Bruce Sorenson, the General Manager at Kempner Water Supply, said.

Green, yellow and brown water has been the reality for our neighbors in Kempner for weeks. To many, it seems the cost is getting higher, as the quality of water worsens.

The water base rate is the cost it takes to have water delivered to homes and keep the company running.

In Kempner, the base rate is $75. Yet, the community is still having problems getting clean water.

“We have had to raise the base rate, in order to pay the bills and stay solvent. That's where we are right now,” Sorenson said.

Hilco is a water co-op that services towns that are comparable in size to Kempner. In Files Valley, their water base rate is $40.20. In Rural Bardwell, their water base rate is $48.00.

West Bell County Water Supply is a nonprofit, with base rates of $30.00.

25 News asked Sorenson why the water base rates are so high, compared to other Texas co-ops.

“All we can do is go on what it costs us to do repairs. We have over 400 miles of lines – we have a huge distribution center – to keep those lines repaired, it costs a lot of money,” Sorenson said.

Even with current funding coming in, there is only so much wiggle room for the company to start new infrastructure projects.

Sorenson said there is a long term plan in place, but their priority now are areas with little water capacity, to upsize the lines.

Still, Sorenson does not anticipate there will be a change in costs anytime soon.

“I think we have a rate we can work with for quite a while. We are able to move forward now and do some things,” Sorenson said.

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